Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thankful Thursday

250. Thankful for downtime

251. For spring break relaxation

252. For visiting family

253. For plenty of work

254. For warm coffee on these cooler Bama mornings

255. For the rain that washes away the pollen

256. For finding something to help my kiddo deal with the stuffy yucky allergy reaction

257. For my hubby feeling better when he was under the weather with crazy allergy issuses

258. For my kiddos relationship with my brother. In his words, the "coolest uncle ever!"

259. As fast as it's going, and that is way too fast, I love seeing my son growing and maturing. He's amazing me everyday and I love seeing his mind and spirit growing.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office Review

Planning is a huge part of homeschool life. Everyone does it differently. Recently I was given a one year subscription to the Lord Heritage program called HomeSchool Office
HomeSchool Office Review
 This program is a complete online based homeschool management program. In this online program you can schedule your complete homeschool lessons and your life. You can add a variety of calendars for each person in your family and share them so they all see what is going on. Everything you need is in one planner. 

There are several aspects of this homeschool tracking program. Let's take a look at the homeschool side first. On this side you can input your homeschool team including you as the teacher and any administrators you want. This works great for the other parent to see what is being done each day and how your children are progressing through the year. 

First thing you need to set up your homeschool team. Student accounts, parent accounts, addresses etc can all be input in this area. 

After your team is set up you can start exploring! There's really so much to see in this one program. You can literally plan and program every step of your everyday life. This program strives to combine it all in one place. 

While I didn't use all of it due to the age of my son, I'll share with you the parts I did use. One of those first places I went was the calendar area. Here you can set up literally everything you want to plan. You can view multiple people's calendars in one spot or choose to just view your own to do list for the day. 
Here's a sample of what this would like look...

This is the Master Schedule. Each person's calendar is shaded in a different color. You can then choose to keep this view, view only one person's calendar or view the calendar by day/week. As you input events it will repeat each day. For example, if you input the Cub Scout Meeting on Monday evenings, it will input it in for you each week. You can choose to print this out each month to have it in a paper calendar or you can simply view it online.

Another feature I used was the Lesson Planner. This takes a few steps to get it done and at first I was kind of overwhelmed. The site has a wonderful help section that goes step by step to help you input lessons and get your classes all set up. You do have to individually enter in specific lesson plans for each day. 

Until you input the lessons it will place a space holder in each day's calendar for that subject. I went in and set up the page numbers of each lesson I wanted my son to do. He can then look it up on his calendar or I could print out the week for him. 

Other Features
While these were the two we worked with, the program offers other online features that you might find quite useful. There are reporting areas, places to keep grades and places to order work for the day. There's also a to-do list 
What I Thought...
I believe that the program is great for those with kids in higher grades that need to keep report cards and track progress. I believe it's very important for those high school transcripts. It teaches students to also become accountable for their work as they have their calendars in front of them. 

I have to admit I am a written planner kind of gal. I love to have the planner in my hands. I did enjoy using this planner and the fact I can easily print it out to put in a notebook of my own. If you're looking for a multipurpose online homeschool managing software, then check out the Lord Heritage program. It may be just what you're looking for!

HomeSchool Office Review

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, March 20, 2015

Week in Review...

Happy Friday everyone! It's been a pretty okay week here. Nothing too out of the ordinary except for things concerning one of my jobs. I will say this. I have wanted to simplify things more in my life and the steps that took place this week do that. While I can't say I was happy about it at first, I know that God has everything in control. When one door shuts, there's another one open somewhere. :-)

On the school front...
This week we continued right along with our studies. The only thing we are "behind" in I would say is Grammar. That is one we have a hard time getting in. Math and Science are two that are done everyday no matter what. Grammar?? Eeh... I know that's a bad mindframe to have so we  I am working on it.

He has been reading well on his own all week. The graphic novels he first started reading has really inspired him to pick up a book more often. I also like that it's getting him to read more books than just the GN. I was afraid at first that he'd get stuck on those but it seems that it's just driving his love of reading instead.

He has started reading a chapter at night before he goes to sleep as well. He's just started a new book called Hooper Finds a Family about a dog in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. I'm excited to see how he likes it.

Math online is working well and I'm also adding in some worksheets too. This week I had him work on a triple digit addition sheet with carrying over, which he has learned, and he struggled with the order of the numbers. So I think we are going to start alternating the worksheets two days a week on review and the computer programs the other three days.

We started working on our Art curriculum review this week. We are both super excited about this one and he's loving it already. We are learning how to work with water color cakes as of right now.

We had the last pirate science class this week and he really seemed to enjoy that class. Looking forward to a break week next week and then back at it in April again .

We also learned about St. Patrick this week and why we celebrate the day. It was very interesting to me as I didn't know he was the first man to bring Christianity to Ireland after he had been kidnapped at a young age. Lots of interesting facts there. Oh, and Boo Bear was not pleased that the leprechaun messed with his milk.

On the home front...
I'm trying to add in more home ec to our day for Boo Bear. He has his certain chores he does and he's starting to add to them. I'm also teaching more cooking and getting him more involved in the kitchen. While I'm super excited about him getting where he wants to help, it's also sad that he's growing up so darn fast. This week I took him clothes shopping and instead of the cool super hero t-shirts, he was picking out the ones with the eagles, American Flags and corvette's on them. Sigh.. They do grow up entirely too fast, don't they?

I will say that two nights this week dinner was bombed. My initial plan was a fail two nights in a row and something else had to be done quickly. At least the last time my plan failed it was just not cooked long enough so with some more time in the crockpot on  Wednesday night our Thursday night dinner was awesome.

Boo Bear and Molly had some cute puppy cuddles this week. I love their relationship!!

Spring has sprung  and Molly is anxiously watching all the birds do what they do. She's so funny when I can catch her looking out the window. She just wants to go chase those flying things around.

We have thankfully had some amazingly beautiful days here lately. I know it's short time before the crazy summer weather hits where thunderstorms are a daily occurrence. Right now though, it's beautiful. We even went swimming for the first time. Well, he did. I'm too chicken to get into that freezing cold spring water right now.

So how was your week? Stop by and tell me about it!

I'm linking up with Homegrown Learners, Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Our 4 Kiddos.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday

230. I am thankful for the love of reading that is blossoming in my kiddo. I can't tell how long I've waited to see this and it's finally coming out. Super exciting!!

231. Being able to say no to things. I have always had an issue when I felt pressured or when I just felt like I had no choice to take on more than I need to. Being able to say thanks but no thanks is a blessing.

232. I'm thankful that even when one door closes, that there's another one God has that is even better.

233. Simplifying life

234. My awesome husband. Even when dinner is kind of messed up two nights in a row, he's fine :).

235. My crockpot. I'm thankful that even though it didn't work out to be done last night, that dinner is ready for tonight
236. The beautiful springs that surround us. I love that we live so close to the water now.

237. I love friends doing the same science program as us so we can swap out books. It saves us both money in the end.

238. Seeing friends after a long period of being separated.

239. Laughing until I can't breathe at my two boys

240. Beach days that are coming sooner than we think

241. Reviewing new fun art curriculum

242. Fresh laundry

243. My morning coffee

244. Talks in the early morning before work with my hubby.

245. Making plans

246. Upcoming birthdays

247. Green milk on St. Patty's Day

248. Feeling productive

249. Shopping with my kiddo

Each week we are counting to 1000 gifts. Sharing what I'm thankful for and the blessings we have been giving. Sometimes it's hard to come up with a list when things don't seem to go your way. But trust me. Count your blessings and see what happens ;)

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Math is a favorite subject of my kiddos but not mine. I never have enjoyed math with the exception of Geometry. That one is okay. So I'm always looking for fun ways to teach him that will nurture that love he has. I don't want him to be like me ;-). One way we have started doing that is with the awesome online GPA Learn and their GPALOVEMATH program. 

Critical Thinking Company Review

This is an online program that can be used as supplement to your childs math program they are already doing but we used it as our math curriculum. The program is for grades K-5 and has thousands of  practice problems for each grade. For those who may use this as a supplement for their school age children, there is a private social network connecting you with the teacher and your children. 

Each level has a different coach that works with your child throughout the program. They teach the lesson your child is in a fun and exciting way. My son is really into robots so when he met his 3rd grade teaching coach, it was love at first sight! 

You can meet Abacus and the other coaches by checking out each grade level here. The program is set up to do three lessons a week and you will finish a grade in ten months. The lessons are around 20 minutes long and can be retaken if your child struggled with it. 

GPALOVEMATH is set up to teach your child three different pathways. For our 3rd grade paths we had multiplication and division, geometry, time and estimation and also addition and subtraction. Each of these paths are intertwined so your child must complete certain sections on each path before moving on. I personally like this because it meant that Boo Bear could not take off and do all of the easier courses before tackling the more tough ones. 

You will need to have a computer or an Apple Mac to run this program. Supported browsers include Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari 6 & 7. They are currently working with Amazon to get the program set up to work on your Kindle. 

What We Received 

For this review we received the annual subscription. Setup was very easy and in no time he was off and learning new concepts. When you set up the account you can choose rewards for your child to earn or they are randomly generated. As they are progressing through the program, they earn coins that are put into a "bank" of sorts. They can turn them in for rewards or keep accruing them. 

You can set up rewards for them such as staying up 30 minutes later past your bedtime, mom does one of your chores or your own rewards. There are also giftcard awards that your child can turn their coins in for and those are sent from the companies. 

How We Used It

Each day I would have Boo Bear sit down and choose a lesson. For the most part I let him choose what he worked on each day. There are three paths and he loves the multiplication path so he tried to only work on that. Here's where the cool part comes in. (well for us parents anyway) 

He had finished several of the multiplication but had not tried any of the others. Before he could move on to the next multiplication level, he had to complete certain sections in the two other pathways. This means he couldn't just keep progressing in one concept without learning others along the way. That is one of the features I loved because he's getting a balanced math foundation.

Another feature I enjoyed is the daily and weekly progress emails. As a parent you receive information on how your child did, what lessons they completed and how long it took them. Some lessons may take longer than others and that's okay. 

The weekly digest shows me how many lessons he completed in the week and what his progress was. It also updates you on rewards they have earned along the way. 

Another favorite feature I enjoy is the Robot dance breaks. I can't vouch for the other grades yet but 3rd graders get a robot dance break before taking their test. I love that it incorporates getting up and moving around to get your brain going. My son gets up and dances around the office with our pup and I love to see that! 

What We Think

It gets two thumbs way up from this 3rd grader! He is thoroughly enjoying the lessons and ASKS to do math first everyday. From the robot dance breaks to the reports in my email box, I am loving this too. 

I asked him the other day if he enjoyed me teaching him or Abacus better and he didn't answer. I told him he wouldn't hurt my feelings and he said Abacus was much better ;-). I just can't compete with a dancing robot! 

If you'd like to learn more about the programs you can check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

You can also click the link below and check out what other grades were reviewed and what Crew Members thought of it. 

GPA Learn Review
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, March 13, 2015

Week in Review - Arrgh Mateys!!

** Be sure to enter the giveaway while you're visiting!**

Happy Friday the 13th! Again. ;) It doesn't really mean anything to me but just another day. So how did your week go? For us it was fun and eventful. Schoolwork accomplished, reviews posted, work done, field trips going on. Whew!

On the school front... This week we moved right along with most items. I shared about a Science curriculum we are doing and loving here. You can check that post out by clicking here. I started this week giving Boo Bear an assignment sheet. We have talked in the past weeks about him learning a little more responsibility for his lessons. Also he likes to see it in front of him what is required of him for the day.

I printed out a sheet and wrote down his assignments for the week. Each day he would check off what he had completed and go back the next day to finish anything he didn't. He seemed to like it so we will keep this up and see how it goes.

We watched the NASA test of a rocket booster system live this week on Ustream. It was really cool and he absolutely loved it. I have to admit it was an awesome thing to see !!

We went out exploring this week. Living in Florida we have a ton of beautiful springs and trails that you can walk on. Since we've moved to our new home we haven't ventured out as much as we would like to. So now that we feel more settled and have learned where they are, we went out this week to try it out. Boo Bear and I loved it. It is a lovely paved trail that you could ride on for forever if you choose to. It was by the springs so that is always fun too. We chose to walk it this time and enjoyed a lovely walk even though it was already 88 degrees outside. We chose the not paved trail to finish up our walk.

Yes you read that right too. It was in the 80's this week. Florida seems to skip the spring times and go straight for summer temps.

I love the springs here. They are absolutely beautiful and you can see right straight through to the bottom. One thing on my to-do list this summer is to get in a kayak or canoe on those waters. I have never done that and want to do it to say I have ;).

We also started our new read aloud this week. The new Magic Treehouse Expanded Edition, Danger in the Darkest Hour. It's a larger chapter book by Mary Pope Osborn with the same characters and same idea. It is just a more advanced reader so that her growing readers have something to change over to once they've read all the other books, 100's of times. ;-)

We also had our second pirate themed science class this week. He was to dress up like a pirate and take his pirate ship he made as well. Thankfully we had some costumes here that we could adjust and with a Wal-Mart eye patch and head piece, he was ready to go. 

On the homefront...
It's been pretty tame this week. Boo Bear and I didn't even leave the house until Wednesday this week. Boy was that a much needed much enjoyed thing. Seems like even though we "homeschool" we are running so much all the time ;). We school on the go, right? It should be at home/car/coffeeshop/store school.

We did take last Friday to do a huge cleaning up/out of the house. I'm working on sections as we go but we did tackle Boo Bear's room this week. He has gotten rid of some items so we'll take those to the thrift store today. We have a park day today with our homeschool group that is a much needed meet-up. You know those times where you just haven't been able to get together due to other circumstances outside of your control? Yep. That's been about our whole group. So w  are all excited about it.

I am hoping to work on some sewing projects this weekend or next if I can find time to get them done. Hopefully it should be easy, right? ;-)

So what have you been up to? What fun adventures did you go on this week?

I'm linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, Our 4 Kiddos and Homegrown Learners.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

More Than Just The Talk Book Review

Ok, so let's talk about the elephant in the room. You know the one that you hope stays in it's corner and that magically gets through to your kids with osmosis? The elephant that you hope you don't have to talk about anytime soon?

You know the elephant that once your child is born is always hovering nearby waiting for the day when you have to sit down and have "The Talk" about?

Yeah. That one. It seems that it's a subject that is far off then one day your child asks you out of the blue, "What is sex?".

Yeah. You're with me now right?

I have known this was coming since we knew we were pregnant. My husband and I joked about the talk before Boo Bear was even born and we also said "but that's way way off from now".

Enter now. Here we are. No, it's not quite time to have the full blown talk with him but he's about to turn nine. While we do homeschool, he hear's words like sex on television. It's really sad that in commercials and regular old television shows this is a predominant subject. Unless you totally disconnect from the world around you and hide out in a bunker, your child is going to face this probably much earlier than you're ready for them to.

That's where Jonathan McKee's new book, More than Just The Talk, comes in hand. I recently received this as a review from Family Christian Supply and since I had already had the "what is sex" question come up once, I thought this would be an amazing time to read it. Just so happens, it worked out I was chosen to get this for review.

From the beginning of the book I learned a lot about how much our kids are inundated with sex and how it's portrayed to them. The songs they hear, the movies they watch, even a simple search on the Internet can get them way more than they bargained for. Don't get me wrong. I know it's there but sometimes it sneaks in on you.

Jonathan brings out the truth about kids in your youth group. You may think that they don't hear or see these things but it's happening everywhere. The songs your children are listening to on their iPods or with their friends. Have you stopped and listened to some of those lyrics?

It's pretty scary how easy it is for them to get a mixed bag of information and a skewed portrait of what this amazing gift is. They can see it as a game or as a competition instead of the incredible gift that God gave to a married couple.

I have to say while this was a hard book to read for me because I want my kid to stay innocent and small forever, it was such a tremendous encouragement and help. Jonathan has been working in youth ministry for 20 years and he's offering such great advice on becoming your child's go to person when they have questions.

The book is full of great information and encouragement as you realize you're not alone in this journey with your children. He encourages you to talk about God's plan for sex and to have more than just one talk. He explains how having multiple talks along the way opens up that dialogue and relationship with your children so they can come to you when they have questions. I'd much rather he come to us than hitting Google every time.

He covers all sorts of topics that are pretty touchy but how you can talk to your child about them. He goes over scriptures and assists you in answering those hard ones such as why should I wait, the lure of porn and the voices your children are hearing from every direction on this topic.

I have to say one of my favorite chapters was "Your Son". Here's a shot of one of my favorite things that stood out to me in that chapter. We want to raise our son to be a respectable, hardworking man. One who knows where his help comes from and who to turn to in times of trouble. We want him to make wise decisions and to surround himself with people that can lead him to the right path. This quote stuck out to me... "Boys need to learn that a wise man is a humble man... We need to be careful who we surround ourselves with".

As a parent you may have already had the talk or you may be on the verge of the talk. You may have had questions come up and not sure really how to respond. Jonathan McKee's book is a great tool for your arsenal in helping your children make wise decisions and know who they can talk to. It helps you to realize that you can do this and helps you to understand it doesn't have to be taboo.

I highly recommend checking out this book and his others on helping to get through those tough and difficult conversations. You can also check out his website by clicking here.

Family Christian has been so kind to host a giveaway to one blessed reader! You can enter to win a $10 Family Christian appreciation certificate below.